NREL researchers use solar and wind resource assessment and forecasting techniques to develop models that better characterize the potential benefits and impacts of variable generation on electric power system operations.
Electric power system operators can reduce the uncertainty of solar and wind generation output by using forecasts that incorporate meteorological data to predict production. Such systems typically provide forecasts at a number of timescales, ranging from less than one hour ahead to one day ahead, to support real-time operations. They also inform the scheduling and market decisions necessary for day-ahead planning.
Forecasting allows operators to anticipate solar and wind generation levels and adjust other generation units accordingly. Improved short-term wind production forecasts let operators make better day-ahead market operation and unit-commitment decisions, help real-time operations in the hour ahead, and warn operators about severe weather events. Advanced forecasting systems can also help warn system operators if extreme weather events are likely so the operator can take measures to protect generation equipment.
The seamless integration of variable generation output forecasting—into both power market and utility control room operations—is critical to accommodating large penetrations of renewable energy in electric power systems.
For More Information
For more information about variable generation forecasting, see the following resources. Additional publications can be found in the NREL Publications Database.
Wind Power Forecasting Error Frequency Analyses for Operational Power System Studies
This paper examines wind power forecasting errors using the Western Wind and Solar Integration Study database of wind power forecasts and numerical actualizations.
Wind Forecasting Error Distributions Over Multiple Timescales
This paper examines the shape of the persistence model error distribution for 10 wind plants over multiple timescales.
Central Wind Forecasting Programs in North America by Regional Transmission Organizations and Electric Utilities
This report addresses the implementation of central wind power forecasting by electric utilities and regional transmission organizations in North America.
Value of Wind Power Forecasting
This study, building on the extensive models developed for the Western Wind and Solar Integration Study, uses models to evaluate the operating cost impacts of improved day-ahead wind forecasts.
Metrics for Evaluating the Accuracy of Solar Power Forecasting
This paper presents a suite of generally applicable and value-based metrics for solar forecasting for a comprehensive set of scenarios.